The craft beer scene in Switzerland, compared to the US, is just getting going. Walking into a beer store in the States, you are greeted by a jaw dropping array of options. Here in the CH, when someone orders a beer at the bar, they literally say “I’ll have a beer”. Because there’s only 1, maybe 2 options. And both are lager. This trend extends, for the most part, to the retail side of things. Feldschlösschen and Carlsberg dominate much like Anheuser back home. One stand-out in this space is Amundsen Bryggeri out of Norway.
There is a fantastic beer warehouse up the hill from me that stocks beer from all over the world, Amstein. Along with a large selection of Belgian options there is a wide range of UK and German brews. It’s one of the bigger bottle shops I’ve ever been in so when something jumps off the shelf it’s impressive. And Amundsen does just this. Their branding is that just right combination of creative and cohesive. Their artwork has a unique style that reminds me of Garbage Pail Kids meets Widespread Panic.
It’s easy to miss the mark in this space and the shelves are lined with them. Sometimes a brewery goes for bold and different but manages just plain strange. Other times, there looks to be a goal of colorful and wistfully creative that becomes a rainbow of discombobulation. But the Amundsen cans walk that fine line of seriously bizarre and clear brand consistency. If I had to pick a favorite, on design alone, it would be their American Wheat – Mad Flow. A cycloptic astronaut riding the Silver Surfer’s board on waves of psychedelic lupulin. Could the folks behind the beer be surfers? I certainly hope so.
And of course, of more importance, the beer is top notch. Thus far, I’ve enjoyed Beerfoot, a grapefruit saison, Hopbliminal – their NE IPA and their pilsner, Run to the Pils which takes the podium for me. I’ve got a whole stack more to try and I’m very much looking forward to it!